9 Women CEOs Kicking Butt and Taking Names

Yo Marissa Mayer, I’m real happy for you and I will let you finish your reign at Yahoo, but there are lots of other women CEOs that are rocking it right now too. And I’m not just talking about women running small businesses; I’m talking about women who are running multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 companies that we’ve all heard of. Here are the top nine ladies doing their thing and working it in terms of Fortune’s company ranking:

Sandra Cochran headshotSandra Cochran – Cracker Barrel

If you’ve ever made a road trip in the Midwest then you have either stopped at Cracker Barrel for some home fixings or have seen their restaurants conveniently located next to the interstate. These restaurants not only serve 56 million pancakes each year but they also have a strong commitment to the communities they’re in. Sandra’s been at the helm since April 2009 and has continued growth in her future there.

Mindy_Grossman headshotMindy F. Grossman – HSN

Who hasn’t channel surfed and landed on HSN to see what the latest gadget is? I have and I’m pretty sure you have too. Mindy has taken HSN and shaped it into a lifestyle network that offers viewers exciting products showcased by the unique personalities that inform consumers in both a fun and interactive way. In 2013, Forbes magazine named her as one of the world’s 100 most powerful women and one click over to HSN you’ll see why!

“When we are caught up in the nature of our work and are asked to take on another job or position, rarely do we step back and ask ourselves: what do I really want to do? What is it at this point in my career and life that is important to me?


Laura J. Alber – Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

When it comes to kitchen and home furnishings Williams-Sonoma is up there for “the place to go”. Imagine wedding season without this store and it’s nearly impossible to fathom that world! Laura started her career with them in 1995 as a Senior Buyer for their Pottery Barn brand and has worked her way up the ladder to CEO. She has grown the brand to include: Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Bed + Bath, and PBteen. No small feat and she did it while wearing heels (probably).

karen katz headshotKaren W. Katz – The Neiman Marcus Group Inc.

Since 2010 Karen has been the head honcho at this well-respected retail establishment and if you think that it’s just a fluke, think again. She has worked her way up the corporate staircase and put in the time and effort that was required to run it. No one has a crystal ball but there’s no reason why Karen won’t be able to continue her success while there.

“I took it [her career] a day at a time and tried to do the very best that I could in everything that I was doing.”

denise morrison headshotDenise M. Morrison – Campbell Soup

Whether you’re sick and a bowl of chicken noodle soup is the only thing that sounds good or you’re cooking up a fantastic dish that requires canned soup, chances are you’ll reach for Campbell soup. Denise put in eight years with them before moving up to CEO in 2011 and before that she racked up more than 30 years of food business experience. This woman can offer a suggestion for which soup will taste the best on a rainy evening as well as give you a full overview of her company and all their successful accomplishments.

“The thing that I learned early on is you really need to set goals in your life, both short-term and long-term, just like you do in business. Having that long-term goal will enable you to have a plan on how to achieve it.”

Ursula Burns head shotUrsula M. Burns – Xerox Corporation

When you have to go make a copy of a file, what do you say? More often than not you’ll say, “I’m going to make a Xerox of this,” even if your company doesn’t have a Xerox copier. The brand reputation that Ursula oversees is an extremely important one. She joined the company as a mechanical engineering summer intern in 1980. A year later she officially became an employee in a product development and planning role. She’s seen a lot of changes in the industry and she’s done her best to make Xerox the first in the office network printing business. I’d say she’s doing a mighty fine job at it too!

“You’re not going to achieve perfect work/life balance every day or even every month. It’s about having balance over longer periods of time. Don’t be afraid to “check out” to put family first when necessary.”

indra nooyi headshotIndra K. Nooyi – PepsiCo

As someone who has watched every documentary about Indra, I have to say that she’s an inspiration to women worldwide. As CEO of one of the world’s best-known food and beverage companies, she not only makes sure the bottom line is the best it can be, but that their company takes the best care of the environment while achieving their goals. She’s been with PepsiCo for nearly 20 years! In that time she has served as President and Chief Financial Officer as well as Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development and as Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning. Whew, that’s a lot of office moves.

“Challenges are global … They require people from every country, every background, every area of expertise, pulling together.”

virginia rommetty headshotVirginia Rommetty – IBM

In 2012, IBM reported revenue of nearly $105 billion and hasn’t stopped trying to break that amount for 2013. Who’s the woman steering this technology giant? Virginia Rommetty. She joined IBM in 1981 and has rocked several leadership positions to where she is now CEO of the entire corporation. She didn’t just apply for the CEO position, she started at the bottom and worked her way up so she would have a full understanding of how the company works.

“You’ve got to be passionate about what you do. No matter what it is, you put too much, your heart and soul in it, you have to be passionate about it.”

meg-whitman_headshotMeg Whitman – HP

Sometimes the CEO doesn’t start their career right from college at their company, and that’s okay too. Meg has tons of experience being a CEO and holding down other executive-level positions at eBay, Inc., Hasbro, FTD, Inc., The Stride Rite Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, as well as serving as director at Procter & Gamble, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. and Zipcar, Inc. Everyone has either heard of all those companies or the majority and she’s proven herself successful enough to run those corporations. Whether she stays with HP for the rest of her career or joins another corporation, she’s proven she can handle it and I’d never bet against her.

“I don’t know that feminism is a dirty word. I guess I prefer the word pioneer, change agent, expanding of world views of what you can do… But I think we’re all very grateful for having been born when we were born. Because we had opportunities that my mother’s generation didn’t have, that my grandmother’s generation certainly didn’t have. All that is I think wrapped up in feminism and I think it’s been good for America and I think it’s been good for the world. When we get discouraged, just have to glance around to other parts of the world and feel pretty lucky that we have the opportunities that we have in America. My story is only possible in America.”

board room meeting

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud that Marissa Mayer has started the conversation about women running major corporations, but she’s not an army of one. The above mentioned women are rocking their titles and the companies they work for. Keep an eye on them; the amazing things they’ll be doing in the future will certainly give us something to talk about.

Did you know this many women held the CEO title at their company? Was there one that really surprised you? Give a shout-out for all the hard-working women kicking butt and taking names in the comment section below!

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Amy Hoidas

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ Community Manager. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on


  1. Jingle Writer

    Yea, I was very happy to have gotten a chance to read this list. A truly incredible group of people here (I had to spend some extra time reading up on them after I first looked through your post). I was surprised that Marissa Mayer was not up on this list. She has done some really impressive things since taking over at Yahoo, like her decision to purchase Tumblr.

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